Cara Langston

50,000 words in 30 days? No thanks . . .


Today is the first day of November and with that comes NaNoWriMo. I must admit I didn’t know what this “word” stood for until two years ago, when I created my author Twitter account and followed many NaNoWriMo-ers. Before that, it just sounded like some hipster thing that I never had time to look up.

I’m sure anyone reading this blog will be familiar with the term, but if you are not (Mom, if you’re reading this), it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Writers, aspiring or professional, pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, the goal being that by December 1, you should have written the majority of a first draft.

Am I participating in NaNoWriMo? Absolutely not.

Take, for example, my current work-in-progress novel, tentatively titled THE GLASSMAKER’S WIFE. As of this second, I have written 53,541 words. How long has it taken me? About 351 days from the beginning of my brainstorm until now.

NaNoWriMo sounds like a fun challenge; I simply believe my current writing process is unsuited for it. As much as I try to write my first draft as quickly as possible, under the premise that all first drafts are shit and I shouldn’t worry about inconsistencies right now, I’m too much of a perfectionist. I deleted 8,000 words in one sitting because my character’s personality changed and the chapters didn’t work anymore. Once I finish a chapter, I go back and edit. If I change a character’s history, I find every description or dialogue in previous chapters and fix it accordingly. It’s a slow process, but it works for me, especially now while I have no obligation to anyone but myself.

I do, however, wish all NaNoWriMo participants the best of luck! Maybe one day I’ll jump in. 🙂


3 thoughts on “50,000 words in 30 days? No thanks . . .

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. Absolutely not, also!

  2. Pingback: Writing, working, and paying the bills | Cara Langston

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